Caddo leaders say state Medicaid expansion should be put to vote - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Caddo leaders say state Medicaid expansion should be put to vote

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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Ark-La-Tex leaders are pushing to expand access to low cost health care for their constituents, including thousands of residents in Caddo Parish.

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover and Caddo Parish Commissioner Stephanie Lynch are working on plans to expand affordable health care here in the Shreveport area.

"We have a chance to be able to put this before the voters on the ballot on November fourth and have the citizens of the State of Louisiana come and let them decide whether or not the State of Louisiana should be a state that has Medicaid expansion," Glover said at a press conference Thursday morning at University Health Shreveport.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) opposes the Affordable Care Act, saying it could end up costing the state nearly $4 billion over 10 years.

Earlier this month, Rep. Barbara Norton (D - Dist. 3) is asking Jindal to reconsider his position in denying the state's participation in the ACA. She has filed House Bill 110 and House Concurrent Resolution 4. Both pieces of legislation would require that Louisiana Medicaid eligibility standards conform to those established by the ACA.

"Living in a state that is the second poorest state in the nation, we as legislators have a responsibility to the people to make sure that we are doing everything we can do, to help provide the best health care services that can be provided in the state of Louisiana," Norton said in early April.

"With that being said, it is our duty to make sure the people of Louisiana have an opportunity to receive the services that are provided by the Affordable Health Care Act."

There are more than 42,000 people in Caddo Parish who are still uninsured, said parish commissioner Stephanie Lynch.

"Almost 19,000 of those folks would be eligible for coverage if we accepted federal Medicaid dollars," she said. "That's right. We would basically be able to cut in half the number of people who are uninsured."

Dr. Eileen Velez is a volunteer physician at the Philadelphia Center and a former attending physician at UHS.

"I have worked with uninsured patients as well as those who lack insurance," she said. "What I see is that the uninsured come from many different walks of life. Many of them are working people or people who have worked their whole lives and have retired. Some of them are young people who are just starting out with work."

Whether or not people agree with the matter, they should be given the opportunity to vote on those issues, Glover said.

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